Elom Ayayee: Photography for me was a fortunate accident

Elom Ayayee never thought photography would be a part of her life. Her career path was in international relations, policy, linguistics, and publishing. But her love for beautiful images in magazines ignited her desire to pursue a career in photography.

She wanted to recreate these looks which seemed limited to only models for the everyday woman who could be a wife, mother, entrepreneur / employee, believer, citizen and role model.

Elom started with no knowledge of photography. She didn’t know how to take photos and had no clients. But with time, constant practice and determination, she opened her photo studio Elom Ayayee Portraiture where she takes magazine-worthy images of women to remember for the rest of their lives.


How did you start your photography career?

Photography was a very fortunate accident and I fall in love with it more and more every day. It’s all about meeting someone for the first time and finally creating a timeless piece of art that speaks to the essence of who they are or who they want to be in the moment it was created.

To me, that is the amazing power of portraiture. Photography for me is the power to exist in time. It’s a way to say “I was here. I lived, I loved, I hurt, I suffered, I rejoiced, I was silent, I was loud. I held this space”.

Why do you focus on women?

I started photographing family and friends and before I knew it I had a client base. My move to photograph women was not just a great business plan. But, it was also a way to highlight these women who are sometimes invisible in the roles they play. Women often get lost in their responsibilities and forget to appreciate themselves.

My initial desire was to give women just one day off. A day to get pampered and remember and document who she is outside of all the hustle.

To get her hair and makeup done and the most beautiful images of herself that would be loved and cherished and appreciated for all time.

What were some of the hurdles you encountered and how did you solve them?

Marketing has been the biggest hurdle. I’m naturally a very private person and 90% of my client base is from referrals. Putting myself out there is still a very uncomfortable experience for me.

That being said, my target market is small and very specific so that tends to minimize the effort I would otherwise have to make in marketing myself. It’s a lazy way of marketing I guess; give great service and let happy clients do the talking for you.

How do you get your photographs to spread your messages?

I don’t create my photographs for the general public. I create images for my clients to hang on their walls in their homes – this is very intimate and private. Images that hopefully their great great great grandchildren will see and talk about.

My images are about time, legacy and emotion. All of my images say different things in the different homes they live in. I can usually tell by spending enough time with a woman who she wants to see when she looks at an image of herself. I pull on every resource within me during a shoot to be able to give her that.

Elom Ayayee: Photography for me was a fortunate accident Click To Tweet

How do you improve your photography and get inspired? 

I do this every way that I can. I enjoy constructive criticism from people I look up to in the industry and my clients. I’m always on the internet trying to figure out how to get what I see in my head right.

My clients are all the inspiration I need. I’ve met such incredible people. Every woman has a story, every child has incredible potential. One day what I create for this person will be a timeless treasure to someone else.

Are you working on anything exciting at the moment?

Yes! I’m doing a series for women that I’m very excited about. It’s easy to promise to take the most amazing picture a woman has ever seen of herself when she’s been pampered and dolled up and looks like the jackpot.

Can I take the most beautiful picture of a woman make-up free? This is my challenge to myself and all my clients. So far, it’s been amazing. Women are so deep and they carry so much behind their eyes.

Each of my clients who have trusted me enough to put themselves in this vulnerable place has been won over. It’s literally the most powerful image you could ever take.

What photography gear do you use to keep focused on what you do best?

I started with a Nikon D3300 and I’ve always used natural light. My first studio was robbed and all my gear was stolen, that’s when I switched to Canon. I’m now shooting on a 5DMark iii.

I own a 50mm lens which I shoot 80% of my shots with and a 70-200 for my outdoor portraits. I use Adobe Photoshop for my editing.

What advice would you give young photographers who want to make it in this industry?

I really don’t feel like I’m qualified to speak for the whole industry, but I would say you need solid people skills and know the basic fundamentals of how to run a business. There’s a huge difference between a business and a hustle.

Also, advise often depends on what area of photography you venture in. So, the first thing I would say is, find your niche, and contrary to popular belief, the smaller your niche the better. Too many photographers are doing too many things. You can’t have it all.  Give great service. Master your craft.


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FACEBOOK LIVE WITH TAFADZWA BETE SASA: DEVELOPING AN ACTION PLAN FOR YOUR 2018 GOALS (May 3)

Its quarter past 2018 – let’s talk about the goals you set at the beginning of this year!

Have you slayed any of them?

If you have, a big SLA kudos to you! If you haven’t, don’t panic – you still have enough time to smash them and end the year strong like a bawse!

In the spirit of Q2, join us on Thursday, 3rd May, as we host a Facebook Live Chat with Tafadzwa Bete Sasa, who will be sharing practical tips on developing an action plan for your 2018 goals.

If you’ve read the I wanted to get more things done and be a goalgetter feature or watched her webinar on creating routines to maximize productivity, then you know Tafadzwa is not a stranger to our SLA community.

Smash your 2018 goals with actionable tips from @taffybete on May 3rd at 12pm WAT. Visit http://bit.ly/TaffyBete to sign up! Click To Tweet

Tafadzwa has several accolades under her name and has also been named a Global Shaper by the Lusaka Hub – an initiative of the World Economic Forum.

She has also designed numerous trainings that focus on various efficiency skills, which include creating routines & schedules for productivity, as well as creating & nurturing tribes for productivity, including this goal getters guide to creating a schedule for your productivity.

Some of the topics we’ll cover

  • The process: steps to smashing a goal
  • The price: what you should sacrifice to achieve your goals.
  • The people: ways to overcome negativity from naysayers
  • Strategies to overcome discouragement and setbacks when the going gets tough

Facebook Live Details:

Date: Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

Time: 12pm Lagos // 1pm Lusaka // 2pm Nairobi

Watch here:

She Leads Africa Facebook Live with Tafadzwa Bete – Sasa, Managing Consultant of GoalGetter Consultancy who is practical steps to developing an action plan for your 2018 goals. Join the She Leads Africa community by visiting SheLeadsAfrica.org/join!

Posted by She Leads Africa on Thursday, May 3, 2018

About Tafadzwa

Tafadzwa Bete Sasa is a productivity trainer, consultant and speaker specialising in personal efficiency and team performance.

She is also the managing consultant of GoalGetter Consultancy and the creator of the organisation’s flagship product – the GoalGetter Planner, a customized daily organizer that helps users translate their dreams and resolutions into SMART goals and develop action plans to achieve these goals.

Outside of her professional work, Tafadzwa is involved in community service as a member of Junior Chamber International (JCI)  where she is currently serving as the JCI Zambia Executive Vice President.
Tafadzwa has been recognised for her outstanding service and leadership as a Global Shaper and as one of Africa’s most outstanding emerging women leaders by the Moremi Initiative. In all her roles though, Tafadzwa is all about building the capacity for people to get things done.

 

5 Marketing Tips from Business Guru P.Diddy

Sean “Puffy/Puff Daddy/ Diddy/Brother Love” Combs is one of the greatest marketing geniuses on earth. He has remained relevant and dominant to hip-hop music, culture, fashion, business and entertainment over the past 20 years.

Last year, Sean was also recognized as one of the Forbes 100 Greatest Living Minds. He is also often considered one of the top 3 of 5 wealthiest hip-hop artists on the Forbes list.

Amidst all these, you may wonder, how does he keep all eyes on him? In this article, we will discover 5 tips from Diddy that can help us improve our marketing game and slay!

 


1. Say Your Name

If there is one thing Diddy always does, is use every advantage to promote his products or name. Whether its an interview on Ellen or a cameo on The Breakfast Club, Diddy always has his products such as a bottle of Ciroc.

You should take advantage of every airtime you get to promote your brand and products. Through being strategic, you should find a way to guide the conversation in a way that allows you to talk about your products.

This will help increase your revenue and the reach of your brand.

2. Make The Circle Bigger

The fact is you can only be in one place at a time, but you need to get the word out about you, your brand or business. You need people spreading a positive word about you to others.

 

 

Diddy figured this out in his early days as a music producer when he started Bad Boy Records, which celebrated its 20-year reunion tour last year. Diddy has been instrumental in the careers of musicians like Notorious BIG, Mase, and more recently French Montana. Whenever a record of their plays, it will at some point announce “Bad Boy.”

Through shaping and promoting the careers of the musicians he worked with, Diddy also extended his marketing reach. When you help other people achieve their goals, you also, in turn, grow your circle of influence and people who will do anything for you.

3. Stay On the Beat

Is Diddy an expert of the FMCG, Film and Music industries? Probably not, but he knows enough of the field to spot a real opportunity. You don’t want to seem like you are all over the place, but rather that you ‘happened’ to be in a certain place or sector because you keep your finger on the pulse.

Whatever you are working on, you need to know all the new developments and contribute to the conversations in a meaningful way that elevates the topic. Diddy lost his father to gun violence at a young age.

Though he became successful, he didn’t forget to empower his people. His response to Black Lives Matter through building a world-class school in Harlem, the neighborhood he grew up in.

5. Have Fun

Diddy always looks like he is having a great time, from salsa dancing in his underwear to the energy he brings when he is hosting shows. People are attracted to someone who is upbeat, so plaster a smile on your face and get hyped about whatever you do!

We are always exchanging energy so make sure you put out positive vibes only!


DO YOU HAVE ANY BUSINESS LESSONS TO SHARE?

Let us know here.

Chidindu Mmadu-Okoli: Storytelling can Change your Business

Chidindu Mmadu-Okoli is a healthcare provider, content creator, and editor. She is the founder and chief storyteller of Story4Strategy.

Story4Strategy is a small business borne out of the passion to help individuals and small businesses create the most compelling brand narratives that connect them with their target clients or ideal audiences.


How did Story4Strategy originate?

Story4Strategy did not come to me by chance. I was inspired by my various experiences from the 13 years where I worked as a secretary, writer, editor, PR officer, and as an inbound healthcare marketing executive.

Currently, the business offers content creation, content editing and content marketing strategy services for individuals, startups and small businesses.

Until the lion learns to tell its stories, history will always glorify the hunter - African Proverb Click To Tweet

Why is storytelling a key component of business in today’s world?

Any business currently operating without a storytelling strategy is like the lamp hidden under the table. The question is, how can any voiceless business make the desired impact?

Any modern day business seeking to build visibility or awareness, influence, and profits must first connect to the minds of their ideal audiences. The only way to achieve this connection and
to build customer-centered relationships is through genuine and persuasive brand narratives.


How can our Motherland Moguls incorporate storytelling into their businesses to give them an edge?

Africa’s history or backstory has propelled a lot of young women to fearlessly pursue lofty dreams that they are neither afraid of nor ashamed of. But, how do we validate these efforts

Young women building great businesses on this continent should see business storytelling as
the tool for showcasing Africa. They can use written, visual or spoken content with calls-to-action, to tell persuasive brand stories. Though, they have to ensure they develop a unique content strategy that aligns with their business goals.

Secondly, through effective use of internet, social and traditional media, women can constantly connect, engage, convert and nurture potentials who will become loyal followers of their brands. Through all this, we inspire, educate and drive positive change.

Attention is the new currency. You have to tell it, to sell it - @iamchidindu Click To Tweet

Can storytelling be applied to young ladies building their careers? 

Of course, it can! In this day and age, where Thought Leadership is ever-thriving, young career women ought to see storytelling as a means to stand out.

Also, young women growing in their careers have a lot of stories to tell based on their gifts, skill sets, knowledge, and experience. Therefore, storytelling becomes a wonderful tool for grooming other young women who want to follow their paths.

As long as someone is telling stories that are connecting and helping people, they will always remain relevant.

 

What careers can young women find in storytelling? 

Storytelling is broad. Business Storytelling and Content Marketing are just the tip of the iceberg. Most of these career paths are wrapped around (brand) journalism, mass communications, theatre and filmmaking, arts and literary studies, information and communication technology.

Young women can then take up specific roles such as content creator, editor, speechwriter, graphic designer, film and even research writer among many others. These different roles allow them to solve problems and create value.

What excites you about using storytelling as a strategy? 

The first thing that excites me is that storytelling is human. I do not need to go develop complex machines as well as specific instructions to give them. It’s a way to connect effortlessly with people and travels faster than formulas or data.

Wrapping data in a story makes it easier for people to understand a difficult concept. After all, people think in stories and not figures.

The great thing about storytelling it that it’s transgenerational. It’s a strategy that worked for our forefathers and still works in the business world. Businesses can use storytelling to change people’s attitudes about a product and even the culture.


What advice would you give young women trying to carve a niche for themselves? 

Every dream is valid! You are the one who validates the dream. When you are persistent enough to begin producing results, others will then start to validate you. So, start small, aim limitlessly. Nothing good comes cheap.

If you show up to your life’s path, life will show up for you - @iamchidindu Click To Tweet

 


Does the intersection of helping women live their best lives, and telling their stories through the media, events, technology, and data-driven thinking sound A++ to you? If so, think about joining us at the SLA HQ. See Job openings here.

Nnanke Essien: The Visibility Expert

Nnanke Essien is a visibility strategist and business transformation coach. She helps individuals with awesome ideas, products and services to get seen and found by their ideal clients.

She does this using a 5 step visibility building process to build an effective and efficient visibility roadmap. Nnanke believes that the path to success is littered with awesome but poorly marketed ideas, hence her mandate is to support businesses find this sure pathway.

She is a John Maxwell Certified coach, a HR professional and a visibility builder round the clock. She has been supporting start-ups and businesses since 2007 even through college.


Why is it important to stay visible?

If nobody knows you exist, nobody will buy from you. It’s really that simple, you must always find a way for your ideal clients to remember that you exist. We call it top of mind awareness. In other words, if at any point your client has a need, your brand name should be top of mind.

How can brands stay visible despite strong competition on social media? 

Truthfully, social media isn’t going anywhere and the earlier business owners understand this and take ownership the better for brands. Firstly, to stay visible, brands must adhere to a stellar mindset.

Beyond this, brands need clarity on why they are in the business. This is in terms of the business mission, vision, values, identifying their business playing field (niche), their core message and their brand positioning on the value chain.

Brands also need clarity on their ideal clients. Who are the people whose lives and businesses will be transformed by virtue of the fact that this business exists?

Understanding the client’s exact needs, desires, challenges, what they need to transform, lifestyle, spending power and motivation is key to business visibility success.Finally, brands can also stay visible by authenticating their authority in the market. Having consistent, attractive and meaningful bio’s on their social media platforms can contribute to this. Their bio must contain relevant information on who the brand is.

Also, nurturing communities i.e groups, leveraging on content and becoming an information reservoir for clients can be a great way of authenticating authority. In all of these, consistency and building revenue generating models, systems, processes and assets are key to success and visibility.

What are your top three tips for business owners to incorporate into their brands?

  1. Have a consistent brand voice and visual appeal that is easy for people to spot and recognize.
  2. Focus on building relationships using KLT (Know, Like and Trust) techniques like live videos, Instagram stories, guest appearances et al.
  3. Leverage on content that your ideal clients need.

How can women balance putting themselves out there while not appearing too forward?

Woman know what you want. Don’t do things out of compulsion or pressure. The woman you buy shoes from didn’t shy away from her calling, the woman who sells human hair didn’t shy away from her calling.
Recognize your hustle. Validate it! Look for a group of persons or coaches and mentors who can help you identify your hustle, find your sweet spot, stay there, flaunt it and own it.

What do you wish more entrepreneurs knew about today’s changing marketplace?

I wish they would spend more time actually researching than copying and wasting endless time doing idle and non-income generating activities. Behaviors are changing. The spending power of your ideal clients is changing. Algorithms on all the social platforms you are using are changing.

What is the next step for you in 2018?

I want to have intentional positioning. This will include focussing on my visibility cure show and collaborating with industry veterans.

Scale your Business in 2018 with Midridge

Midridge offers bespoke solutions to small and medium scale businesses who are looking to master their financials, make quantum leaps in their business and need to make pivotal and strategic decisions, driven by financial indices.

They are positioned to help businesses maximize their economic potentials, and deliver enhanced, long-term value to their stakeholders. 

The financial advisory offerings help business owners to find a solution to business finance problems, create the desired business transformation that helps them scale in profitability and operate more effectively.

Finance expert, business strategist, freelance writer and managing consultant of Midridge International – Abiola Adediran, shares some insights and tips on how to scale your business in a new business year.


 

Deep down, you have a bigger vision for your business and yourself, as an entrepreneur and woman of impact. Your smart, bold choices and hard work have paid off with the business of your dreams.

But when you get a moment to reconnect with your big vision, you see the potential for your profits and impact to be so much more. You were meant to lead. But the realities of running a business, and juggling the offline demands of life have kept you at status quo for far too long.

Behind the scenes, there are essential shifts that must happen in order for you to grow., and your calendar and time management systems need a serious reboot.

You might want to leverage a team, but you’re spinning your wheels when it comes to hiring, delegating, and leading others well. Other people manage your money, but your black-and-white financial picture is a blur, and those “tape-and-glue” systems you set up on a whim are now costing you time and money.

If you’re honest with yourself, you haven’t fully stepped into the driver’s seat in critical areas of your business.

As women, we have enough on our plate. Stepping into the “driver’s seat” sounds like more work and even less “me” time.

In my experience working with women entrepreneurs, I have come to realize that what stops women from being true leaders is not a lack of drive or determination to step into that higher role. Instead, it’s letting the same old systems and routines run you and your business–which keeps you satisfactorily underperforming, year after year.

It’s no wonder so many women entrepreneurs shy away from taking on the title of CEO!

But until you say YES to working in your genius as the visionary leader of your business, you will remain stuck in the status quo.

You have to make a very conscious decision: Either let the business run you around in circles and into the ground, or, take ownership, and really adopt the mindset of a leader.

You need to truly step into the driver’s seat of your business, you MUST

  • Let go of the same old systems and routine that are not working for your business.
  • Get aligned with your vision as a leader, entrepreneur, and woman of impact.
  • Get strategic and open yourself up to the big 360° view of your business.

All successful women at the top of their game today know that THIS is their ticket to freedom.

As you map out and implement your strategy for the year, you will need tactical inputs to help you stay grounded and connected to important challenges and considerations, uncover profit gaps in your business and proven tactics and processes to help close those gaps, work smarter and double your productivity, to think strategically and stay focused on the big picture.

As a CEO, it is important that you identify the main business drivers to pay attention to, in order to increase cash flow.

What’s really happening in all areas of your sales cycle—are you maximizing cash flow or are there bottlenecks?

How do you weigh out your current opportunities and determine which ones align well with your long-term strategy, and which ones are better left alone?

Your commitment to scaling your business in 2018 and stepping into a higher level of profitability and business success requires that you do a business diagnosis, evaluate your strategy, understand your financials, maximize your profits and identify means of creating consistent cash flows in your business.


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4 simple steps for developing a marketing strategy for your Small Business

It’s common to see many small business owners unintentionally ignore marketing, as in this digital age, a lot of SME’s interchange ‘marketing’ with ‘social media’ and ‘advertising’.

This article aims to get small business owners to think about marketing holistically and systematically. Marketing is definitely not a few social media posts with a few Instagram ads here and there. You need to put in WORK!

Running a small business without a strategy in place leads to confusing your customers with mixed messages, and worst of all, confusing yourself with a lack of direction.

We’ve put together for you, some simple steps to developing a marketing strategy as a small business owner.

Step 1: Take a step back

Look at your entire business as it relates to your marketing strategy, plans, and campaigns as well as your competitors, your customers and your industry as a whole.

Take the time to write (or type) things down, getting your thoughts out of your head allows you to see the bigger picture.

Step 2: Plan ahead

Lucky for you, here is a FREE template you can use ( because who doesn’t like freebies?) to develop your marketing strategy, which you can download and work through. Make sure you are as thorough as you can so you don’t get overwhelmed later on when it is time to execute your plans.

When you answer these questions, it is time to think about how they will affect your marketing communication.

Step 3: Communicate appropriately

Your communication depends on your strategy (which you should have created using the template above). For example, if you provide a home service or you offer delivery services, your communication should play upon the element of convenience.

If you do not have a permanent location and offer a nomadic experience, then your communication should play up the element of mystery.

If your target customer does not have a car and uses public transportation, your location is key as it needs somewhere that is close to where your customer works/lives or you can consider a delivery service and cut down on your overheads.

Your product, customer base, and price point will determine your tone of voice in your communication for example, if you are selling luxury high-end handbags to women over 40 years old, it is not advisable to use slang such as ‘slay’, ‘beat’ or extensively refer to popular culture as your customers are unlikely to relate.

If you are selling a luxury product/service, your communication should be minimal, professional, impersonal and aesthetically pleasing. Make sure you are not partnering with brands that might dilute the luxury i.e. lower end brands or brands that cater to a completely different market in the same industry.

If you are selling a product/service that is complementary to another e.g. if you are a makeup artist, your service complements or relies on makeup products and tools. Therefore, your communication can involve displaying makeup products or you can possibly collaborate with brands that offer the complementary product/service.

Step 4: Stick to your plans

Defining your USP (Unique Selling Point) and communicating effectively will allow you to play up your strengths and allow you to stay consistent and relevant in your consumers’ minds. You will be able to let your customers know exactly what problem your product/service solves and what gap it fills.

Without actually writing down these points, you may be communicating something that you think is a strength but is actually your weakness in comparison to your competitors.

Once your marketing strategy is in place, it becomes easier to develop your marketing plan for different instances, e.g. your launch, new product releases, and your seasonal campaigns.

Go forth and strategize!

5 Simple Steps to finally launching your business idea

Was one of your new year’s resolutions to finally get that blog, podcast or business idea off the ground? Well, if so, I’ve got great news for you!

I recently sat down with the amazing Tobi Olujumni who shared 5 simple steps that you can take to turn this dream into a reality.
For anyone unfamiliar with her, Tobi is the founder of the WTALK, a Multiplatform Entertainment & Faith Network which empowers Women to explore Faith via entertainment.

W360 is the membership streaming service of WTALK set to redefine Faith within global entertainment.

Tobi Olujumni

She is a powerful communicator and sought after preacher of the Word of God. You can read the tips that she shared in our interview below:

1.  Start small but do something

First of all, I would say, start small. Start small but do something. I think that in the day and the society and the culture in which we live now, everyone expects you to have ten thousand followers or a hundred thousand followers, or what have you.

And you’re almost deemed unsuccessful if you haven’t attained that. All of these things are just massive distractions. If you have something on your heart to create, I would say start small. If you want to start a blog, start writing. Start writing on your notepad.

For example, it’s so funny because someone asked me about how I do status updates. Well actually, some of my status updates come on the train and I put it in my notepad. Then I get a kind of a nudge a few weeks later and I think “Oh, that’s for this time!” and I post it.
So first, I would say, start small but do something. That’s big! Because, you know, I have a lot of people that come to me and they’re like “how?” or “what should I do” and I’m like “just do something!” It doesn’t have to be fantastic.

I am a perfectionist but sometimes that can work against me because sometimes some things need to go out.

Some things need to resonate. It’s not about the camera angles, it’s the message that needs to reach the person who needs it most. So that’s why I would encourage whoever it is to start and do something.

2. Be consistent

And then I would say, be consistent. Be consistent because people like to trust that you’re going to be around. That’s how you build a community.

That’s how you build a following- if people trust you; that you’re going to be around. And, if you think about it, if we look at any of the big, massive brands, we trust that they’re going to work.

For example, if I log onto Netflix, I trust that the shows are going to be there. That’s because of their consistency and I think, as you show up and you’re consistent, people will build a trust towards you. People will build a trust towards your voice.

3. Know your voice

The third one I would say to everyone is, what’s your voice? It’s incredibly crowded. It’s incredibly noisy. People are getting notifications left, right and center.

So, what is your voice? It goes back to knowing your identity because I think your voice flows from your being. For example, I’m not creating anything today that doesn’t flow organically from who I am.

You only have got to spend about an hour with me and you’ll know that’s true. So, I would say, what’s your voice? I hear people say they want to be the next Oprah. Good for you but Oprah exists and she doesn’t look like she’s going anywhere for now.

What’s your voice? Because your voice will resonate to the place it’s supposed to be sent.

4. Be persistent and be determined

And, after consistency and knowing your voice, be persistent and be determined.

Your idea is not going to grow overnight. If you get it overnight, you’ll probably lose it overnight. It’s about legacy. It’s about building deep roots.

Like at this moment, I’m not overly concerned with having millions of followers but what I am concerned about because we’re in our infancy at this stage (we’re under 5 years as a company), is building deep roots. Roots that are so deep our infrastructure is laid and it’s tight so we can build upon that.

If your infrastructure’s dodgy, if the foundation’s dodgy and you’re trying to get to 100 followers, the whole thing’s going to collapse. The fact is, if you don’t want the long endgame, I would challenge you to question why? What is your why?

If you just want to make a little bit of money- you can do something else that is less stressful. If you want it now, I would challenge you to question your why. If you get your why, then you’ll know it’s definitely a long run.

5. Be passionate

You must be passionate about what you’re doing because you have great wins and you have days where you’re just like “oh my goodness!” And I just think, the thing that keeps me going is my why and my passion.

It’s the passion- seeing who you’re hoping to help or who you’re hoping to bless or who you’re hoping to communicate with, it’s those things.

Having a little reminder on your phone is really helpful too.


Got an article you’d like to share with us? Share your story with us here.

Positioning Your Brand Strategy for The Nigerian Market

Brand strategy is the process of positioning your brand in the mind of your target market. The goal of every brand should be to be top of mind in their customers’ heads – that is whenever a customer thinks of your product, your brand should be the first name that pops in their head.

For instance, whenever you think of ordering a cab, the first name that comes to mind is usually Uber, or, if you want a cold, non-alcoholic drink, Coca-Cola comes straight to mind.

The aim is to be the top of the market niche of your brand, the customer needs to specifically identify your brand as distinct from others in the market.

Brand positioning occurs whether or not a company develops a brand strategy, for every market, there is a market leader and less recognized brands. Every company has to craft a brilliant and progressive approach to positively position its brand to grab the attention of its target audience constantly.

Basics of Brand Positioning

The basic four elements of brand positioning are:

Target market: Who are your customers? What is the major demographic constitution of consumers that your brand appeals to?

Market definition: What level is your brand competing for? How is your brand relevant to customers?

Brand promise: What is the most convincing, logical or emotional benefit to your target market that your brand has over your competitors?

Legitimacy: What is the most credible evidence you can present to confirm that your brand would deliver on its promise?

Brand strategy styles

There are four branding styles prevalent in Nigeria, choose the ideal strategy for your brand and implement.

The big bosses battle

This branding style is usually for brands that are in a prominent market category with the market leadership margins within fringes of each other.

Examples of these are Coca-Cola versus Pepsi and Jumia versus Konga.

These two categories of brands are very similar and are constantly competing to gain market share. It is honestly a battle for the big bosses due to the amount of money and time it takes to successfully attempt this strategy.

Big Fish, Smaller Pond

This idea is the basis of most specialist and personalized brands. It is based on the idea of creating a niche within an underserved market, which is basically identifying a sector of an existing market whose needs have not been met by market leaders and positioning your brand as the solution to this market gap.

For instance, there are several platforms that cater to needs of career women and female professionals, however not a lot are youth-focused, which is where She Leads Africa comes in. Fundamentally, this style avoids going head-on with the market leader but focuses on a specific niche.

Game changer

This brand positioning reframes an existing market in new ways. It gives customers new and innovative benefits that make market leaders and your competitors so irrelevant that your brand becomes the new market leader.

If the needs or expectations of your customers change, you differentiate your brand from competitors by highlighting its distinctiveness or marketing your brand in a revolutionary way.

Take Jameson’s foray into the Nigerian market, for instance, other drink companies brand their product as aspirational lifestyle brands or luxury brands, to be honest, aspirational branding is the de-factor brand strategy for products similar to Jameson.

However, Jameson took the alternative route and branded as an artsy, cool kids brand, which has sporadically fast-tracked its market penetration in Nigeria.

Another example is Wanneka Hair, the hair extension retailer that achieved Instagram fame by using unique brand storytelling, unique content, influencer marketing and several other techniques to achieve market leader status in a saturated market.

This branding strategy will highlight your distinctiveness and help you beat the market leader, however, your strength must be backed by good quality product and service. This style gives a feel of exclusivity, community and a unique experience for its customers.

First mover

When there is no other product or service like yours and you are the first of your kind, you have first mover advantage and you get to invent your market. This strategy is for brands that do not fit into any existing market.

Examples of this strategy are Uber and Printivo.

The taxi-hailing app market did not exist before Uber created it, so also a Nigerian online DIY print provider had not been invented before Printivo. The benefit of this strategy is that your brand would be the default market leader because you literally created this market.

However, this strategy can be risky because you might not find the right product-market fit simply because the market does not exist because there is no need for it. There are several brands that flopped in an attempt to fill a need that doesn’t exist, don’t join them.

This strategy comes with several copy-cats, nonetheless, patents and trademarking might help, but if your product can be easily imitated, ensure you get enough head start to gain as much market share as possible.


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If you want to achieve your goals, stop focusing on them

A lot of us have set out the goals that we want to achieve in 2018. Whether it’s business, family life, financial, career or social goals we have set them out and we expect to achieve them by 31st December 2018.

How successful have you been in the past? Personally, at the end of the year, I find I have achieved 50% or less of what I set for myself to achieve. So what am I doing wrong?.

I stumble across an interesting TED talk by Reggie Rivers, his first bold statement was that “IF YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE GOALS STOP FOCUSING ON THEM!”  This caught my interest as it goes against what I had learned so far, I listened to the entire presentation.

Break your goals into tasks that'll bring you closer to the goal. Click To Tweet

Reggie broke down that focusing on the goal makes you unable to use your energy on actually achieving the Goal. Moreover, more often than not you are not in control of the outcome and are only in control of your behavior and reactions.

We all want to make money in our business by the end of the year, but you can’t force customers to buy from you, you can make the product as good as possible, yes, but you really can’t guarantee the outcome i.e. profits.

 For instance, if you want to lose weight you end up weighing yourself every week. Of course, those who struggle with weight like I, realize that this does not lead anywhere fast.

In fact, you end up frustrated and abandon the whole weight loss journey. You are focusing on the outcome.

He suggests that you should focus on WHAT IS IN YOUR CONTROL, your behavior.

Hmm… what does this mean? He says that you should focus on your behavior, which you are in control of, to achieve your goal.

Focus on what's in your control - your behaviour Click To Tweet

Assume you are able to achieve the goal and perform the tasks to achieve it. In the weight loss scenario, you should focus on what you are eating, how much you exercise and what you drink.

We need to break the goal into smaller tasks that we can perform easily and fast while working towards the main huge ambitious goal. Reggie suggests that you should have tasks that you can perform TODAY, TOMORROW and THIS WEEK.

I like the idea that you break up your big goal into smaller manageable bits. What does this achieve?

  • You remain motivated as you achieve something every day and week. Every small step moves you closer to the big goal.
  • You can dream big and break the large goal into smaller action points and you end up achieving an ambitious goal. This works even when you need to save or invest. This I can testify to.
  • You keep on revising your plan every so often and thereby are able to make necessary changes to move you closer to the goal. This is particularly helpful in business so that where you can change a strategy that does not work before you lose too much money.
  • It helps you be disciplined on simple tasks and eventually bigger ones. This is a way to get rid of bad habits like procrastinating. If you are accountable on a daily and weekly basis you notice your weakness and work on it more often to improve yourself.
  • It actually keeps you on track as you end up spending the necessary time, without getting distracted, to achieve your eventual goal. Normally when a task is huge we are quick to allow ourselves to be distracted away from it.

In conclusion, I think this is a great concept to adopt in business and generally in life, deal with what you are in control of.

Forget what is not in your control because you can’t change it anyway.


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